This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: https://doi.org/10.1111/aab.12816. This is version 1 of this Preprint.
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Mass releases of two parasitoid species, Aphidius matricariae and Ephedrus cerasicola, may provide an alternative measure to pesticides to control the rosy apple aphid Dysaphis plantaginea in organic apple orchards. As a proof of concept study, we tested if the presence of flower strips between apple tree rows could improve the action of three early parasitoid releases—and of other naturally present aphid enemies—on the control of aphid colonies and number of aphids per tree. Apple trees located at different distances from parasitoid release points were monitored in plots with and without flower strips in an organic apple orchard over two years, along the season of aphid infestation (March to July). Our case study demonstrated that the presence of flowering plant mixes in the alleyways of an apple orchard improved the biological control of D. plantaginea, with an effect size of 33.4% less aphids in plots with flower strips, compared to plots without flower strips, at the infestation peak date. We also showed a negative effect of higher distance to parasitoid release points on aphid control, but our results at the infestation peak date suggest that the presence of flowers could marginally compensate for the detrimental effect of distance, probably by improving the persistence and dispersal capacities of natural enemies. Despite high variations in aphid population dynamics between years, we conclude that combining flower strips with early parasitoid releases in apple orchards is promising for biological control of the rosy apple aphid, although the method merits to be further refined and repeated in more orchards.
Agricultural Economics, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Entomology, Horticulture, Life Sciences, Plant Sciences
conservation biological control, distance, Dysaphis plantaginea, natural enemies, organic apple growing
Published: 2022-01-14 20:04